Culture

Nine haunting Halloween facts

Nine surprising facts about Halloween!

Russell Leib Montreal, QC
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1. Halloween originated as a pagan festival

Halloween was not always an excuse for children to stuff their faces with sweets. It was first celebrated under the name of Samhain by the Celts, an ancient tribe of people who lived in contemporary Britain, Ireland, and Northern France.  Samhain was celebrated to commemorate the end of summer and the beginning of the long winter. It was also believed to be the day in which the world of spirits and living collided, which likely led to the horror themed holiday we celebrate today.

2. Jack-o-lanterns used to be Jack-o-turnips

The modern-day Jack-o-lanterns carved from a pumpkin has become an ingrained tradition. Yet, they did not start out as pumpkins but turnips! In Ireland, the first Jack-o-lanterns were made using turnips as pumpkins are not native to the island. The turnips were carved with scary faces and lit with a candle in order to ward off evil spirits on the night of Hallow’s eve.

3. Shockingly low crime

Despite Halloween being associated with evil deeds and horror movies, Statistics Canada reported that crime decreases by 4% on Halloween. So parents, don’t worry about your little ones facing any real horror on their night of trick-or-treating.

4. The most candy is not sold in October

Contrary to what you may think, October, home to Halloween is not the most popular month for sweet treats. Statistics Canada reports that in October $550.7 million was spent on sales of cookies, confectionery, and snack foods at retail,  beaten out by December.

5. Your wallet should be scared

The Globe and Mail  found that Canadians spend a bone-chilling $1 billion on Halloween. The average Candian also spent a hair-raising $52 on costumes, $43 for decorations and $42 for Halloween candy.

6. Quebec, the worst place to trick-or-treat?

Quebecers are apparently very stingy when it comes to Halloween. Only 46 percent of Quebecers plan to give out candy on Halloween compared to the Canadian average of 64 percent reports Retailmenot.

7. Where is Halloween celebrated?

Not everyone in the world sees October 31 as a night of spooky fun, with the holiday mainly being celebrated in North America and western Europe, with many countries having their own cultural twist on the night.

8. No one actually puts razors in your candy apples

Despite your mother’s insistence that her cousin’s friend’s nephew bit into a razer filled candy apple, no evidence of such an occurrence has ever been found. It turns out that the stories of poisonous candies and razor filled apple are mostly just old wives’ tales.

9. Why do we bob for apples?

The tradition of bobbing for apples on Halloween came when the Roman invasion of Britain brought apples to the island. The native inhabitants then used the apples for a tradition wherein apples would be put in a pool of water and young unmarried people would attempt to bite them, with the first being able to marry.

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